Saturday, September 27, 2014

Are You Different

Are You Different

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The Word of God is very clear; if you have been washed in the blood of Christ, you are different! Your daily life should reflect the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

Look at the three sections of scripture below. God is telling us to cast off/put off our old ways; the ways of the world, the ways of darkness.
  • Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
  • Ephesians 4:20-24 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
  • Colossians 3:8-11 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

The Bible gives us (Christians) clear instruction on the things we should be doing and the things that should not be part of our lives. We are to put on our new identity in Christ and live a life that reflects His holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16). Read on to see what came after the three sections of scripture above.
  • Romans 13:13-14 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. 
  • Ephesians 4:25-32 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

There is no way I can break down all this scripture in one weekly devotion. However, I do believe the message is clear; our lives should reflect the values and character of the God that we serve! Are you different? Has your life changed? 

Every Christian sins; we all fall short. Yet our lives are different because we are different. Being bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus Christ makes a difference in your life.  Read these three sections of scripture at least three times in the coming week.  Let God's Word work in your life.

If you are a Christian, you are different.  Trust God.  Believe that He is faithful and that your life will reflect the eternal change He has made in you (Philippians 1:6).


Dear Lord, loving Father, You have changed me. I am different because of Your love, grace and mercy. Your Spirit is changing me, guiding me. Forgive me when and where I fail. Thank You for the gift of change. I pray my life honors you. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Coin or The Creator

The Coin or The Creator

  • Mark 12:13-17 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His words. 14 When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” 16 So they brought it. And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.

In yet another attempt to trap Jesus with His words and turn the Jewish people and/or the Roman government against Him, the Jewish religious leaders asked Jesus if Jews should pay taxes to Rome. If Jesus answered ‘yes’, the Jews would have been angry because they greatly resented paying taxes to Rome. If He answered ‘no’, then the Roman government would have a charge against Him since the Jews were required to pay Rome taxes.

The Godly brilliance of Christ’s answer contained a deep truth that applies to all people in all times. The image of Caesar on the coin represented the world system. Yet all people are created in God’s image.
  • Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

In answering this question, Jesus gave a clear and practical illustration that reinforces a distinct teaching in the Word of God; a person cannot give their allegiance to both God and the world. You have to choose!
  • Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
  • James 4:4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Christ told the Jewish religious leaders to give to the world what belongs to the world (the things that bear the image of the world) and give to God what belongs to God (those who bear His image).

You were created in God’s image (only man has the ability for advanced reasoning, feelings, free will, a moral compass (conscience) and the ability to commune with God)! But have you taken on the image of the world (a lover of self, serving false gods/idols, an insensitive/inoperative conscience, ignoring God)?  To whom have you given yourself?
  • Romans 6:16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?

Give yourself completely to God; the one and only God who created you in His image. Choose the Creator, not the Coin!!


Dear Lord, I praise You and thank You for creating humanity in Your image. What a blessing to be aware of You, to commune with You, and to have Your Holy Word. Your Word reveals the gospel message of Jesus Christ and many deep truths that are not revealed by Your creation. I pray that Christ’s words will touch the hearts of many and draw them into a relationship with You leading to eternal salvation. I love you, in Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Interrupted Prayer

Interrupted Prayer

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing,

In other words, Christians should never stop praying! This is not some idealistic goal, but a consistent theme throughout the Bible.
  • Psalm 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.
  • Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
  • Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
  • See also Luke 18:1 and Ephesians 6:18

Steadfast prayer is not natural! To achieve this supernatural state of closeness with God requires time, submission to the empowering of God’s Holy Spirit, lots and lots of time in the Word of God, and a very intentional thought life. This is impossible without the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ.

Also, to achieve steadfast prayer requires you to reexamine and redefine your perceptions of what prayer is. Direct dialogue with God is awesome; but quiet communion, Bible study, listening, yearning, desiring, watching, acknowledging, praising, singing, etc. are all aspects of ongoing interaction with our Heavenly Father.

Nevertheless, when you ‘pray without ceasing’, you are going to get interrupted!

Life Happens: spouse, children, pets, work, accidents, crime, frustrations, blessings, biological functions… Interruptions to our Steadfast Prayer indicate the need for Solitary Prayer!!!

Jesus Modeled Solitary Prayer
  • Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
  • Matthew 14:23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
  • Matthew 26:44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

God’s Word Promotes Solitary Prayer
  • Psalm 119:147 I rise before the dawning of the morning, And cry for help; I hope in Your word.
  • Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
  • Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Uninterrupted time alone with God is essential to a healthy relationship with Him. Make Solitary Prayer a priority in your life.

But don’t beat yourself up when you suddenly realize you haven’t even thought about God in the last hour (been watching your favorite TV show, sitting in meeting, working on your car, dealing with an unreasonable person, cleaning up after a sick child, etc.). Continue to strive in His power and authority for the goal of ongoing communion with Him. We may fall short in the weakness of our flesh, but He is always faithful!!!


Father, Savior, Lord: grant me the peace, pleasure and privilege of both steadfast and solitary prayer. May the presence of Your Holy Spirit guide me in ongoing communion with You. I pray in all things, Your kingdom come and Your will be done. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Watch, Wait & Win

Watch, Wait & Win 
  • Micah 7:7-8 Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. 8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The Lord will be a light to me.
There are many important aspects of the Christian life. As we live out our daily lives, what we watch for and how we wait for it are clear indications of what we will win (now and in the future).

We watch expectantly to see how and when God moves – which He always does in accordance with His character and His promises as revealed in the Bible. We also watch excitedly for Christ to come for His bride the church.
  • Proverbs 8:32-34 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at the posts of my doors.
  • Mark 13:35-37 Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— 36 lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
  • 1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.
As we watch, we patiently wait; admiring His faithfulness and anticipating His ongoing blessings and imminent return. Our waiting centers on both the temporal and eternal facets of God’s activities and plans.
  • Psalm 130:5-6 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
  • Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
  • James 5:7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.

There are two aspects of winning for the Christian: through the power of the Holy Spirit we win souls for Christ; and in Heaven we receive the prize for living a life that honors our high calling as God’s children.  
  • Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
  • Philippians 3:14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Winning is the joyous result of diligently and faithfully watching and waiting for the right things; Godly things. True winners focus on others more than self (Philippians 2:4).

Dear Lord, the world, the flesh and the devil are always working to draw our gaze away from You. When we look away, we start waiting for the wrong things. The prize of salvation in Christ, a Godly life and eternity in Heaven with You are all that really matter. Help us, Father, to watch and wait for You. Winning means nothing if it doesn’t glorify Your name and fulfill Your purposes. In Christ’s precious name I pray, Amen.

Monday, September 1, 2014

God Has Plans

God Has Plans
From eternity past, God has had very specific plans for His creation.  
God Has Revealed His Plans
In His love and grace, God has given us the important aspects of His plans. In His sovereignty, He rules over all creation.
  • Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
  • John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
God’s Word and Holy Spirit Have Revealed His Plans and Enable Our Understanding
With the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit, as we read the Bible, God’s plans, standards and expectations are made know to us. With our finite minds we struggle to grasp all the details of His eternal plan; but He gives us faith to believe and always shows Himself to be righteous and reliable.
  • Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
  • John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God’s Plans Includes a Distinction
From God’s Word and our experiences we see that there is a clear divide: Life and Death, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness. Although God is sovereign over all, you must make a choice to be on ‘God’s Side’.
  • Deuteronomy 30:15 See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil,
  • Joshua 24:15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
  • Matthew 12:30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
To Be on ‘God’s Side’ Requires Repentance
Turn from your sin. Run to Christ with all that you are; forgiveness is waiting for you.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
  • Luke 24:46-47 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
God Does Not Desire for Any to Perish
Although few will find their way along the narrow path to eternal life in Christ (Matthew 7:13-14), God finds no joy in the eternal damnation of those without Jesus.
  • Ezekiel 33:11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
  • 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Choose Life – Eternal Life With God
His plan for you brought you to this point. Make a decision right now to surrender your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. God’s plans include you!!!
  • Matthew 16:26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 
  • Psalm 119:9 How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.
Salvation in Jesus Christ
Every person sins. This means we fall short of the perfection (righteousness) required by God.
  • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The cost for our sin is eternal separation from God (spiritual death). But in His love, God made a way for the penalty of our sins to be covered – Jesus Christ!
  • Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus Christ, the human incarnation of God, came to earth and never sinned (fulfilling the requirements of God’s Law). Then He died on a cross, sacrificing Himself for us, to pay the debt owed for our sin. And He did all this while humanity was rejecting Him.
  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
If you believe in your heart that Christ is God and that He was raised from the dead by the power of God the Holy Spirit, declare this with your mouth by praying to God and surrendering your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You will be saved from the wrath of God against sin and adopted into God’s family.
  • Romans 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
A Prayer for Salvation
Pray from your heart a prayer similar to the example provided here.  
Father in Heaven, I confess that I am a sinner. I understand that my sin separates me from You. I realize there is no way I can pay the price for my sin. But I know that Jesus came to this world, lived a sinless life and then died to pay the debt owed for my sin. He was raised from the dead by the power of Your Holy Spirit to show that He is God, to defeat death, and to guarantee my eternal life in Heaven. I surrender my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. By the power and promise of Your Word, I accept the gift of eternal life and,by the indwelling power of Your Holy Spirit, commit to live my life in a way that will honor You . I pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
If you understood and meant this prayer, you are now a child of God. However, you need to understand that you will never be sinless until you are in Heaven with Christ. Satan will try to keep you away from Christ’s church and other believers by telling you this isn’t real and that you are a failure. Seek out a Bible believing Christian Church where you can learn, grow and serve!

If you have unanswered questions or would like to discuss this further, seek out a Bible believing Christian Church for help!